FORMER Croft netballer Lucy Smith has been called-up for the England under 21 indoor netball team to play at the WINA World Championships in South Africa.
The 21-year-old from Blunsdon, Swindon successfully navigated the January trials and saw off competition from far more experienced indoor netball players to earn the call-up.
Indoor netball is slightly more streamlined than its outdoor cousin. There is one less player on each team and the courts are surrounded by high-tension netting so the ball never goes out of play.
It is a version of the game that Smith had never played before the trials in January but has since commited herself to. The Brunel University student is balancing her final year studying for a sports science degree with training at the weekends in Bristol and East London.
Not only that but Smith is also self-funding her dream to the tune of £2,300. She has to cover all of the expenses that go with playing an international competition, from kit costs, to flights and accomodation.
Undoubtedly this is a big commitment but one that Smith is more than happy to undertake as realised her dream of playing for England.
“It’s obviously a great achievement I’ve always wanted to be part of an England set-up,” Smith told the Advertiser.
“I heard about the trials through a friend who got in last year and went along but there were 20 girls who had already been before as part of the under 18s so I had to pick it up quickly.
“I feel like I’ve reached a goal, I‘ve been part of an NTL squad before and I’ve now I’ve had the opportunity to take the next step, so finally achieveing one of my goals is like wow.”
The call-up came as a bit of a suprise to Smith who came through two trials against more than 50 other girls to make the final squad of 12.
“I was a bit shocked. I thought I didn’t get it because I only played two times in the final trial so it was sort of ‘oh, I just have to wait and see now’.
“It was quite scary because I knew a couple of people who found out before me and I was worried I didn’t get in.
“I’m not cool about these things. When I found out I was running up and down the corridor and telling my housemates and ringing my mum.”
So far Smith has raised about £100 through small fudraising events at her university but said her family have also been very generous in funding her.
Smith is still looking for sponsors to help cover her expenses and anyone interested can get in touch with her directly on; firstname.lastname@example.org.